Humanities major and business guy here. Since joining Hive76, I’ve been blown away by how easy (and fun!) it is to make stuff yourself. But I also noticed that sourcing parts for projects you read about isn’t always that easy.
And – a lot of my friends here have great ideas for DIY kits, but they don’t want to take care of sourcing, shipping, collecting money, etc. Who can blame them? There’d be many more interesting kits out there if someone solved the sourcing problem.
That’s why I launched Kitify a few weeks ago. Kitify makes it easy to document and list a bill of materials for a DIY project (a little like Instructables, but you have control over the presentation), and with one click you can also sell your project as a kit that we put together for you. You tell us what’s needed to build the kit, we sell kits on your behalf, and you get paid.
Kitify was fun to build, I had to learn quite a lot to get it off the ground. Check it out! And if you’re interested in selling a kit, let us know through our contact form and we can either help you get it set up on Kitify, or give you other advice on marketing, logistics, design, and lots of other areas.
Think about your microwave or mobile phone. How easy would they be for an average consumer (or perhaps even you), to repair? Very difficult – in fact, stickers on many appliances note that there are “no user-serviceable parts inside”. If you have an iPhone, you’ll notice that it uses special, rare screws that it’s difficult to find a screwdriver for. Even the battery is encased within the phone and impossible to replace without serious intervention.
There are some legitimate reasons for this. Microwaves, for example, probably discourage users from fiddling around with them for product liability reasons – if a user tries to repair their microwave and injures themselves, a small appliance manufacturer wants to be able to say that they told you not to mess with it. But there are also lots of reasons why you should be able to take apart, and perhaps then modify, the things you buy. Continue reading “Making Things Maker-Friendly”
At Hive, we spent part of this summer making a bunch of cast-resin 3D printer parts. So instead of printing these parts up as we’d normally do, we made molds out of silicone mold material, and then filled these molds with resin whenever we wanted a new set.
The materials for this are cheap to acquire and easy to handle – some kind of resin (e.g. Smooth-On 326), and also material for making the silicone masters into which the resin is poured. We used Oomoo, but there are other materials out there. Other than that, you need standard stuff: mixing containers and mixers, napkins, etc.
Why would we do this? Well, in theory it’s easy and cheap if you can do it right, or if you aren’t too hung up on quality. And the parts end up looking extremely cool, especially if you use some tinting in your resin mixture. We created a couple parts sets with this tinting, which looked amazing.
However, we did run into some problems. For example, if you don’t have very elite molding skillz and materialz, you end up having to finish all the parts manually – this means deflashing, and also drilling the dozens of holes that your printer’s rods, bolts, and screws will go into. This takes a lot of time, and is very tough to do correctly. You also run the risk of breaking the parts when you drill them, which means… more molding. There are lots of other things to deal with too – what do you do if one of your master molds breaks? How do you acquire high-quality original parts to base your molds on? Etc.